As stated last week, this edition hosts the first of many stories by remarkable local amateur football official Ally Martin.
Ally began his in-depth tale by stating: “Like all laddies brought up in the early 1950s, my football playground was the street until the local bobby appeared and we scarpered off.
“We were fortunate having two local parks – Orchar and Castle Green – to play in and, staying close to the beach at Broughty Ferry, we had a vast additional playground.
“The games were open-sided, and any newcomer appearing went ‘cock or hen’ to decide which side they played for.
“No-one was turned away and we played for hours, usually until your mother appeared to call you home.
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“When the tide was out, the firm sand was a perfect pitch and, if it was a full tide, ‘headers’ competitions were held on the soft sand.”
Ally’s earliest recollection of organised football was while attending Grove Primary School, where teachers took interest in starting a football team.
He continued: “I am sure our first game was against Hawkhill PS and this meant two buses, then a walk down Paton’s Lane or Step Row to Magdalen Green to play on The Coup (Riverside).
“We changed behind the goal, but, in the winter, hands were often frozen and football boots remained on until you got home. After a few games, a member of the team suggested we ask our mothers make and sew numbers on the backs of our jerseys, a real piece of street credence as such niceties were unheard of in these days.
“Numbers were usually worn only by senior teams.
“However, we did not have the foresight to ask one mother to make and sew on all the numbers and, when we turned up to play our next game, to our horror the numbers, cut from old white sheets, were an assortment of sizes, various widths and different positions on the back of the jerseys.
“While we had a dark blue hand-me-down strip, each player had to provide shorts and socks, the latter mainly comprised of the thick socks you wore with your wellies.
“Looking back, we must have been a sight for sore eyes, but we did not care as we were different from all other teams with our numbers.
“In those days, I played both in goal and outfield, dependent on a goalkeeper being available.
“Team-mates at primary included Jack Gallacher and Harry Lawson, whom I teamed up with later at the YM, but our only claim of note was that we had twins – Ted and Harry Milne – in the team.”
Soon, Ally moved up to Grove Academy, and this coincided with him joining the local Broughty Ferry YMCA – a decision that was to have a great influence on his football future.
He explained: “The YM secretary and, indeed, man of all trades within the YM, was Harry Nicoll, and it was he who established a team to be known as Broughty United AFC, entering the Midlands AFA in season 1953-54.
“The home park was Claypotts enclosed, now known as Whitton Park, though the team used the changing facilities at the YMCA.
“In 1958, the foresight of Harry and his committee members led to an U/18 team named Broughty YM being entered in the Angus Amateurs AFA.
“This would provide an activity for the youngsters at the YM and also, hopefully, provide a stream of players for Broughty United in the years ahead.
“Norrie Ingram and John Murray were put in charge of the team and I was selected as goalkeeper at 15 years old.
“Little did I know this was the start of a long, enjoyable journey involved with amateur football and Broughty United.
“We played at Orchar Park, Broughty Ferry, where the overhanging tree branches often interfered with play.
“After a few weeks, when victory had eluded us, Norrie and John hatched a plan to, hopefully, bring our first victory – Spangles!
“These were a boiled sweet about the size of a modern Starburst and a packet was offered to each player once we secured our first victory.
“I think it was almost Christmas 1958 when the great day dawned, but Norrie and John were obviously not so confident as they did not have the Spangles to hand out.
“We did get them the following week. Some of my SAFA colleagues might be reading this and deciding this made us all professionals!
“At this time, I and most of my team-mates played for the school in the morning and travelled on the bus covered in mud to the YM game in the afternoon, wherever it was played.”